One hundred and forty-four top level young rugby players, representing 11 countries from World Rugby’s six regional associations, are in Buenos Aires for the third Youth Olympic Games where the rugby sevens competition will take place over three days from Saturday 13 October, with the gold, silver and bronze medals being decided on Monday 15 October at Club Atletico San Isidro sede la Boya in Buenos Aires.
Six men’s and six women’s teams will compete for Youth Olympic honours as rugby sevens features for a second time in the Youth Olympic Games having debuted at Nanjing 2014, ahead of the sports’ highly successful introduction to the Olympic Games at Rio 2016.
In Buenos Aires, the men’s competition sees France defending the gold medal they won in Nanjing four years ago and as the only nation to have teams in both genders of the rugby sevens tournament. Argentina, second when rugby sevens made its Youth Olympic Games debut four years ago, Japan, South Africa, USA and Samoa complete the men’s tournament line-up.
In the women’s competition Australia will not be in Buenos Aires to defend the gold medal they won in 2014 as New Zealand are representing Oceania at the 2018 edition. The Black Ferns will be competing for Youth Olympic honours against France, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Canada and Tunisia.
All rugby sevens competition sessions will be live streamed on the World Rugby website and social media platforms.
VIEW WOMEN’S COMPETITION HERE >>>
Both men’s and women’s tournaments follow a round robin-format with two sessions per day. The final session on the third day will see the excitement reach fever pitch as the medal matches are decided.
While each team has their own goals for the tournament, the Youth Olympic Games is an important player development pathway for aspiring Olympic athletes with an important focus placed upon workshops off the field complementing the action on the field.
As much as medals are part of teams and players dreams, the Olympic ethos, shared by rugby, and the chance to connect with fellow youth Olympians from around the world, is also a highlight of Buenos Aires 2018.
Team USA men’s rugby captain Alex Cleary was given the honour of carrying his nation’s flag at the opening ceremony of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and is looking forward to getting in to competition mode, “Being on the big stage brings pressure but we couldn’t be happier. Playing in Buenos Aires is the end of our Youth Olympic adventure but the start of future Olympians for the USA,” said Cleary.
When Canada took the women’s silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Sandro Fiorino was assistant coach. He comes to Argentina with medallist Kelly Russell as his assistant. “Kelly is mentoring the team and the girls are looking up to her as a former Olympian. We want to perform in the spirit of rugby, compete and go home with a medal. They certainly have something to aspire to.”
Olympic inclusion has had a huge effect on rugby sevens and been a game-changer for rugby as a whole. Following the sport’s successful introduction at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games it is estimated that the rugby sevens fan-base grew by more than 30 million as a result, with sevens instrumental in lowering the average age of World Rugby’s fan-base from above 35 to below 24 while expanding international reach, with emerging markets such as the USA, China, India and Brazil showing substantial growth.
Entrance to the event will be free but only for registered fans in the possession of a Youth Olympic Pass, an electronic bracelet that will allow you to enjoy and be part of Buenos Aires 2018. The Pass will allow the holder entry to all four Youth Olympic Parks, stadiums and stand-alone venues every day, attend the sports competitions and participate in over 1,200 cultural and educational activities.
Admission to the rugby sevens will be on a “first-come, first-served” basis until maximum capacity is reached. Rugby sevens is expected to be one of the hot tickets of the Games given the sport’s popularity in the host nation.
For more information on the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, visit www.buenosaires2018.com
Courtesy of World Rugby